The Juicy Bits
2022 was a big year for booze. After playing second fiddle to suds for decades, spirits have now outsold beer for the first time with 42.1% of the alcohol market share. Premium tequila and American whiskey are the top sellers. One of those whiskeys, Proof And Wood's The Representative, just won "World's Best Bourbon" in the 2023 World Whiskies Awards. After reading that news, I immediately ordered a bottle: only $56.99! In other beverage news, the US Food and Drug Administration has decided that soy milk can legally be called "milk," despite complaints from the dairy industry. Elsewhere in government oversight, the US Labor Department has fined a meatpacking sanitation company $1.5 million for hiring children as young as age 13 to clean meat saws, among other hazardous jobs. And the State Department has renewed its Diplomatic Culinary Partnership with the James Beard Foundation. The two organizations hand-picked an American Culinary Corps of more than 80 top chefs to act as cultural ambassadors during diplomatic programs both at home and abroad. Let's hope they serve the World's Best Bourbon at their next event! —Dave Joachim
James Beard Foundation Names 2023 America’s Classics
Image Source: Bill Addison
While most JBF awards go to fine-dining chefs and restaurants, longstanding independent family restaurants also get the nod in the America’s Classics Awards. This year's winners include Joe’s Bakery & Coffee Shop (Austin, TX); La Casita Blanca (San Juan, Puerto Rico); Manago Hotel (Captain Cook, HI); Nezinscot Farm (Turner, ME); Pekin Noodle Parlor (Butte, MT); and Wagner’s Village Inn (Oldenburg, IN). Congrats all! The Foundation's fine-dining Restaurant and Chef Award winners will be announced on June 5 at Chicago's Lyric Opera.
Spirits Edge Out Beer With 42.1% Market Share
Image Source: iStock
For the first time ever, spirits surpassed beer in US market share, according to the US Distilled Spirits Council. Fueled in part by a resurgent cocktail culture and ready-to-drink cocktails, spirits claimed 42.1% of the alcohol market share, with beer sales just behind at 41.9% market share. In 2022, more than 60% of total spirits revenue came from sales of super-premium spirits such as tequila and American whiskey.
More Beverage News
Proof And Wood Wins World’s Best Bourbon In 2023 World Whiskies Awards
Kentucky Bourbon Trail Attendance Reaches 2.1 Million, A Record High
Brazil's Altos de Pinto Bandeira Becomes New World's First DO For Sparkling Wine
Non-Alcoholic Spirits Sales Rise 155%, According To Drizly
Oregon Liquor And Cannabis Commissioner Resigns Amid Bourbon-Hoarding Scandal
Shoppers Face Fresh Price Hikes As Stores And Suppliers Pass On Costs
Image Source: Reuters/Paul Childs
By the end of 2022, the US food index had risen 10.4%. Analysts predict food prices will continue to rise for at least the first half of 2023. According to research firm Kantar, British consumers have already paid a record 16.7% more for food in the first month of 2023 compared to the same time last year. The CEO of Nestle, which owns more than 2,000 food brands from Cheerios to Häagen-Dazs, said the company would have to raise prices again in 2023 to offset increasing production costs. Food giant Unilever is also expected to raise prices. Tighten your belts. Inflation isn't over yet.
UN Food And Agriculture Organization Dubs 2023 "The Year Of Millets"
Image Source: AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi
Quick-growing, drought-resistant millets have become the darling of rural grain farmers around the globe. While the pandemic and the Ukraine war upended grain prices and supplies, farmers in Africa, India, and China pivoted from wheat and corn to planting hardy millets like fonio, sorghum, teff, and finger millet. Millets make up only 3% of the global grain trade but have helped reduce food insecurity enough in places like Zimbabwe that the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization is supporting millet farmers with various initiatives, naming 2023 "The Year of Millets."
US Labor Department Fines Meatpacking Sanitation Company $1.5M For Underage Employees
Image Source: US Department of Labor
Labor Department officials found that Packers Sanitation Services, America's largest food sanitation services company, employed at least 102 children ranging from age 13 to 17 in hazardous occupations in meat processing facilities across eight states. The children were exposed to hazardous chemicals and cleaned meat processing equipment, including back saws, brisket saws and head splitters. At least three of the children suffered injuries on the job. Packers has agreed to pay more than $1.5 million in civil penalties. The Labor Department has also launched a widespread crackdown on child migrant labor in other industries.
US Food Additives Banned Elsewhere "Almost Certainly" Making Americans Sick, Expert Says
Image Source: Freestocks
Potassium bromate is a suspected carcinogen that's banned for human consumption in Europe, China and India. In the US, however, it is widely used in baked goods to strengthen dough. "There is evidence that it may be toxic to human consumers, that it may even either initiate or promote the development of tumors," says professor Erik Millstone, a food additive expert at England's University of Sussex. Other substances banned in Europe but permitted in the US include brominated vegetable oil, titanium dioxide, azodicarbonamide, and propylparaben. In response, the US Food and Drug Administration said that "regulations require evidence that each substance is safe at its intended level of use before it may be added to foods."
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James Beard Foundation Renews Partnership With US State Department
Image Source: Ronny Przysucha
This February, the JBF and the US State Department signed a "memorandum of understanding" renewing its Diplomatic Culinary Partnership. Begun in 2012, the partnership waned in recent years, and the renewed goal is to "engage world leaders, further cross-cultural dialogue, and strengthen bilateral relationships." How? With the food and hospitality of the American Culinary Corps, a group of over 80 top US chefs and culinary professionals who will participate in diplomatic programs and events at home and abroad. Can't wait to see what they cook up. You can watch the ceremony and see the list of participating chefs here.
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